A warm summer day on Vancouver Island may seem like the perfect time for a long walk with your pet, but the BC SPCA is asking you to reconsider.

While the SPCA says a breezy day might not seem dangerous, they note cats and dogs have sensitive paw pads that become vulnerable in the heat.

Surfaces like pavement, asphalt, and artificial grass can become ‘searingly’ hot, the SPCA says. This causes blisters or burns on their paw pads. Plus, hot pavement and warm weather can also increase the overall body temperature of your pet, leading to heatstroke.

Before you reach for the leash, you’re urged to check the pavement before you walk, or to walk during cooler times of the day. It’s also important to keep midday walks short, to refrain from walking on hard surfaces, and to stick to a shady route. Remember to moisturize your pet’s paws, and use dog shoes, booties, or peel and stick felt pads.

But if you decide to ditch walking your pet altogether, you should also refrain from leaving them in your hot car.

So says the BC SPCA’s Stephanie Arkwright. The Campbell River branch manager told My Campbell River Now that disaster can happen ‘really quickly’ when leaving your pet in the passenger seat: In ten minutes, they could go into critical distress and suffer from heatstroke, especially if there’s no airflow.

RELATED: ‘Disaster does happen really quickly’: Campbell River SPCA stresses dangers of leaving pets in hot cars

“If you absolutely have to bring them in the vehicle, it would be ideal to have someone who can stay with them, or bring them out of the vehicle while you’re doing what you have to do,” she said. “We do have some locations that are pet friendly, but you should find that out first before assuming.”

Arkwright noted it’s also important to have plenty of water in the car. And when it comes to spotting someone else’s pet in a hot car, she added there are ways you can help. You can reach out to the BC SPCA call centre, your local RCMP detachment, or even your local animal control.